By Steve Stones
This 1965 black comedy-horror gem is of particular interest to me, not because it is a great film, but because it involves a struggling artist who turns his career around by employing human blood as paint on his canvases. It’s the third in a “blood trilogy” directed by the infamous “Godfather of Gore” – Herschell Gordon Lewis. The other two films are – Blood Feast (1963) and Two Thousand Maniacs (1964).
The film has some similarities to Roger Corman’s 1959 black comedy – A Bucket of Blood, in which another struggling artist gains local fame by molding clay around a dead cat and victims he murders.
Artist Adam Sorg, played by Don Joseph, discovers a way to use human blood as red paint when he witnesses his girlfriend Gigi cut her finger on a nail on the back of a canvas. Soon, he stabs Gigi in the head and drains her blood in a bowl to paint with. The result is his next great masterpiece, which is quickly hailed by art critics and the local public.
Like so many struggling artists, Sorg is an eccentric loner who hates the pretentious, elitist attitudes of critics and the art world. He dismisses the praise by local critics, but continues to produce new paintings using his own blood and the blood of murdered victims.
One particular tasteless sequence in the film has Sorg tying up and disemboweling a young girl in his art studio after he has just chopped up her boyfriend in a boat chase out on the ocean. Color Me Blood Red was later followed by Gordon’s more inferior 1967 film – The Gruesome Twosome, in which an old woman running a wig shop and her mentally challenged son scalp young local college coeds of their hair as part of the wig shop business.
Something Weird Video in Seattle, Washington recently released the documentary – Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore. Watch it at your own risk. It may not be for those with weak stomachs. Enjoy!